Former House Speaker Davao del Norte 1st District Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez said he owes his election to Congress in 2016 to voters and not to the Del Rosarios and 2nd District Rep. Antonio Floirendo, Jr.
Who voted me as congressman? Them or the voters? No single person can put you in that position except the voters, said Alvarez in a radio interview.
Alvarez said this even as he has publicly admitted earlier that his win in the 2016 congressional race was supported by Floirendo and Governor Anthony del Rosario and his father former governor Rodolfo del Rosario.
Alvarez won in 2016, after two previous debacles in the 1st District congressional races where he was not supported by Floirendo and the del Rosarios.
Some quarters have described Alvarez as a “snake in the grass” for going up against his former benefactors.
People of Davao del Norte are well aware about how the del Rosarios and Floirendo in 2016 brought back Alvarez from his political grave by helping him, financially and politically, win the election.
Alvarez, who first won a Congress seat in the 1998 election, had practically disappeared from the province’s political landscape since abandoning his congressional post in 2001 to take on a short-lived stint as transport secretary of then President Gloria-Macapagal-Arroyo, and since being clobbered by opponents in his comeback bids in the 2010 and 2013 elections.
He resurfaced as part of then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s presidential campaign and was named as Speaker of the House of Representatives with Duterte winning the presidency. Alvarez, however, would be ousted two years later and replaced by former President now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in a coup on July 2018.
Interviewed on ABS/CBN Davao on Monday morning, November 12 in the Banat program, anchorman Jun Bersamin asked Alvarez to react to accusations that he is “walay batasan, walay utang na loob (Without manners, without gratitude).”
After breaking up ties with the del Rosarios and Floirendo, Alvarez is going to war with his former allies and benefactors in the 2019 mid-term election.
For the elections in May next year, Alvarez has organized a political bloc, the Alvarez Wing, against the Floirendo- and Del Rosario-led Hugpong Ng Pagbabago (HNP), a regional political party formed by presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
Alvarez’s reelection is being contested by Gov. del Rosario, while Floirendo will be facing off in the 2nd District race with Vice Governor Alan Dujali of the Alvarez Wing. Alvarez has also fielded his personal assistant, virtual unknown Edwin Jubahib in the gubernatorial race against HNP’s Rodney del Rosario, the governor’s older brother.
In the interview, Bersamin hinted that Alvarez has forgotten the word gratitude as Alvarez is now ranged against his former benefactors who helped him in the past to win an election.
“Mentalidad sa pamulitika nga ikaw ang agalon (That’s the mentality of politicians who think they are the master),” Alvarez said, referring to the del Rosarios and Floirendo.
“Kinsa nagbutang (sa akoa) as congressman? Sila ba o ang katawhan? (Who voted me as congressman? Them or the voters?),” Alvarez said.
“No single person can put you in that position except the voters,” he adds.
While admitting he was helped by his former allies and benefactrors, Alvarez claims the help was not crucial to his winning.
“Ang support ok pero pila lang ka boto (There was support but it amounted to only a few votes),” he said.
I could not have won if people did not like it. Utang ko naa sa botante (My gratitude is to the voters),” said Alvarez.
Up against the formidable and tested political machinery of the del Rosario-Floirendo combine, observers are giving Alvarez and his Alvarez Wing no chance to make it in the coming polls.
Further, Alvarez’s fate appears to be sealed in doom, with Mayor Duterte-Carpio and the HNP throwing support to del Rosario and Floirendo.
The presidential daughter has called Alvarez an “asshole” and vowed to campaign against his reelection, after the then Speaker said HNP was an “opposition party” organized by Mayor Duterte-Carpio without the blessing of President Duterte.
It is reported that Mayor Duterte-Carpio was among those who were behind the ouster of Alvarez as Speaker, which was confirmed by no less than President Duterte.